Every Body, Everywhere, Every Day
An intentionally flexible city that’s accessible for every body, everywhere, and every day. People should be able to use things the way that makes the most sense for them, and we should build that flexibility and hackability into our spaces. That could mean infrastructure like moveable trees and street furniture that can be repositioned, regardless of your strength or size, or new ways to authenticate and open doors that don’t require any particular dexterity.
One Size Fits One. From the Beginning.
We don’t think one size fits most. One size fits one, and with technology, we can allow for dynamic flexibility in the city environment. Throughout history, the accessibility community has meaningfully pushed the fields of digital technology and computer science forward, and we want to formalize and encourage this throughout Quayside and beyond.
For us, it’s important that we address and begin this conversation now. Over the course of September, we will be hosting several moments to learn and question, and we welcome you to come and be part of co-creating a neighbourhood that can work for everyone.
- Sept 5-6 — Co-design session #3: Threshold moments, at OCADU
- September 21 — Hackathon, 9AM-7PM at 307
- September 22 — Open Sidewalk #3: The Accessible City
- September 26 — Sidewalk Toronto Public Talk: The future of more accessible cities
We’re inspired by and working with a range of different academic groups, advocacy organizations, design thinkers, and technology companies to push the bounds on what it means to be a truly accessible city, be it through technology prototypes or new ways of thinking.
Partnerships and Prototypes
- Canadian National Institute for the Blind: We’ve partnered with BlindSquare and the Canadian National Institute for the Blind‘s ShopTalk program to provide navigational beacons to test how we can build flexible, public spaces with enhanced wayfinding capabilities for everyone. These navigational beacons, paired with the free Event version of the BlindSquare app, provide spoken descriptions of the spatial layout, as well as rich descriptions of the experiments, prototypes, and exhibits at 307.
- OCADU’s Inclusive Design Research Centre: We’re partnered with OCADU’s Inclusive Design Research Centre, a leading thinker in inclusive design. Over the course of the summer and into the fall, we’re working with their team to develop a series of co-design sessions, in which people of intersectional identities with lived experience of disability shape and drive the thinking around Quayside. The design sessions have focused on issues that are real and complex—but technology and smart design can be a meaningful step forward.
- Quadrangle: A Toronto-based architecture shop with a deep focus on accessibility. Quadrangle has brought an architect’s perspective to our accessibility co-design sessions. We also asked Quadrangle to conduct a full accessibility audit of 307, the results of which will be on display on site and online.
- Access Now: Led by Torontonian Mayaan Ziv, Access Now is an effort taking place in Toronto to map the 40-km PanAm path for Google Maps via cameras mounted on wheel chairs. By street-viewing parks and trails, people with varying mobility can understand and see terrain, self-assess, and trip plan in advance or en route. This helps break down barriers—reducing apprehension and risk of being stranded due to unexpected stairs, gradients, missing bathrooms, or rough ground—as well as creates opportunities for everyone to engage with nature, something we feel particularly strongly about at Sidewalk.
- Tecla: Tecla is a Toronto-based technology company that provides accessible switches and input devices that make it far easier for people who identify with certain disabilities to use mobile devices. We will be featuring two demo experiences at 307 throughout the month of September, one that pairs with Access Now’s mapping capabilities, and another connected home demo that allows one to streamline the switch between home activity settings, such as reading mode (turning on a lamp, opening an ebook) or video mode (turning off a lamp, bringing up a video) in a seamless, easy manner.
- Key2Access: An official partner of CNIB, Key2Access is a Ottawa-based tech company that enables anyone to request a street crossing or open a door via a mobile device or portable, physical button. Dexterity is often assumed in our designs, and Key2Access is using technology to bypass and provide an alternate solution. We’ll be showing their demo at 307 for the month of September.
- Hyperlight Systems: Hyperlight Systems has developed a smart cities platform that transforms accessibility. Their vision is simple: Access for Everyone. Everywhere. Their mission is to create seamless mobility experiences that delight users and make our cities more inclusive and livable.